The NFL has been attacked by guerrillas, and it’s not happy.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek recently celebrated touchdown catch against arch-rival Dallas by striking an end-zone pose straight from the marketing campaign of Captain Morgan rum.
Although many NFL players in the modern game seek to build their personal visibility — and thus marketability — through attention-grabbing actions on the field, Celek was the first player in recent memory to bring unauthorized guerrilla marketing directly into the stadium.
(Guerrilla marketing campaigns typically involve innovative, unconventional events that seek to catch consumers’ attention in unexpected places.)
The NFL reacted swiftly, issuing a ban on the “Captain” pose and warning that the next player who tries it will face a heavy fine.
According to a report by Yahoo! Sports, the pose was part of a guerrilla marketing campaign by Diageo, the international distillery giant that owns Captain Morgan, the No. 2 rum in the U.S. market.
Every time a player struck the pose in a televised game, Diageo planned to donate $10,000 to Gridiron Greats, a non-profit group that assists NFL players who fall on hard times after they leave the game.
A worthy cause, but the NFL bans any in-game commercial promotions by its players. And justifiably so. Sponsors spend millions of dollars each year for official affiliations with the league, and they understandably don’t want their thunder stolen by free-lancers.
Some other ideas
Still, I couldn’t help but wonder what other overlooked sponsorship opportunities might be ripe for the picking in pro sports.
Kleenex: Early-childhood programs are winners every time Brett Favre tears up
Crest Whitestrips: The NHL team with the most teeth at the end of the season wins free dental care for low-income kids in its city
Right Guard: For NBA teams that stink up the joint, pollution-control agencies cash in when a game is decided by more than 30 points
Campbell’s Soup: Homeless shelters stock their shelves every time a pro coach is canned
Cruex: When a baseball player grabs his crotch on TV, the jock itch remedy donates gear for a youth league
John Wiley & Sons: The publisher of the “For Dummies” series gives free books to libraries in honor of the week’s most boneheaded play in sports
How about you, readers? Any more ideas?